Expo Admission Tickets on Sale / Enhance Momentum by Spreading Appeal of International Event

If the contents of the exhibits are not communicated effectively, it will not be possible to generate enthusiasm for the exposition. The central government needs to strengthen its information dissemination and widely convey the significance and attractiveness of the event.

Advance tickets for the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo, which will open in April 2025, have gone on sale.

The Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition, which manages the Expo, expects to see 28.2 million visitors during the six-month period for which the event will be running. The association said it plans to sell 14 million advance tickets, with 7 million allocated to business circles and the remainder going to the general public and local governments.

The association intends to cover its operating expenses with admission fees. It hopes to secure income at an early stage, but it is difficult to predict whether things will run according to plan.

A major factor in this regard is public distrust of the venue’s ballooning construction costs. In October, the association announced that the costs — to be shared by the central government, the Osaka prefectural and municipal governments, and the business community — were expected to balloon to ¥235 billion, a 90% jump from the initial estimate.

Reasons for the rise include the soaring costs of materials. However, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey, 70% of respondents were “dissatisfied” with the increase. Only 30% of respondents said they would like to visit the Expo.

Hosting the Expo constitutes an international commitment, and Japan has a responsibility to make it an attractive event. If the central government and the Osaka prefectural and municipal governments believe the Expo has significance and value commensurate with the huge expenditures, they must offer detailed explanations and seek the public’s understanding.

Another current concern is that not enough information is being transmitted regarding the contents of the exhibits, while the main features of the event remain unclear. The use of “flying cars” — expected to serve as a means of transportation for visitors — faces myriad challenges, including how to ensure safety.

A moon rock and a mammoth specimen attracted attention at the 1970 Osaka expo and the 2005 Aichi expo, respectively. This time, however, it is not yet clear what visitors will be able to encounter at the venue. Under such circumstances, how many people will be willing to buy admission tickets?

Sixty countries had planned to build overseas pavilions on their own, but not a single country has begun construction. Mexico has decided to withdraw from the event, citing its domestic fiscal condition, and nearly half of the countries have yet to decide on even a construction company, according to the association.

It will be important to review the plan flexibly, on the assumption that some countries will decline to participate.

Global warming is becoming increasingly serious. Conflicts are occurring around the world, and overcoming infectious diseases has become a major issue for humankind.

The theme of the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo is “Designing Future Society for Our Lives.” How can the people of the world pool their wisdom and solve issues? The Expo should serve as an opportunity to think about this.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 1, 2023)